Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists


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Is there really a difference between needle sizes?

Jun 06, 2012

Recently on the Mayo Clinic Diabetes blog there was an interesting article about needle size and how in their research they did not find a difference between absorption of a smaller 5/16 in. (8 mm) needle and a longer 1/2 in (12 mm) needle in their overweight patients. I was always taught that for children or thinner individuals, they need the shorter needles and longer needles are more appropriate for those who have more fatty tissue around the injection site. I found this article surprising-

For many, they may not “feel” their injections or experience a lot of pain but others who are more sensitive who are using the longer needles may have more compliance from switching to a shorter and smaller needle.

In the article, they described a study they did with their patients. They found the shorter 5/16 in (8mm) needle produced similar blood glucose patterns as the longer 1/2 in (12mm) needles and without additional insulin leakage at the site. Their patients were also more satisfied and willing to do their regular injections. They now recommend the shorter needle for both their overweight and normal weight adult patients. With both needle sizes, they had their patients injecting at a 90 degree angle and holding for 10 counts before taking out.

I would like to know if other educators have noticed any difference between the needles especially in their overweight patients- Please comment below to help us learn from each other-

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